"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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DISCIPLESHIP - 101: SESSIONS 3 & 4








 








SESSION THREE: The HOLY BIBLE - GOD is the AUTHOR

2 TIMOTHY 3:16 
All scripture is given by inspiration of God (literally ‘God – Breathed’), and is profitable for doctrine 1, for reproof 2, for correction 3, for instruction in righteousness 4.
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.


The DOCTRINE of the WORD of GOD - What it is and what it's for

1Doctrine: Instruction for learning, truth that is taught – doctrine is that which is right, true, approved of God.

ISAIAH 28:9-10
9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

The doctrine of God's Word is laid out in Scripture in a very methodical series of 'layers'. It brings up the principal truths of creation firstly (GEN Ch's. 1 and 2), then establishes man's relationship to God (GEN 2:15-25), expresses the fall of man (GEN 3:6-8), and the promise of redemption - through the 'seed of the woman' which is Christ (GEN 3:15). It is a well researched fact that all of the major themes and doctrines contained throughout Scripture have their foundation and 'first-mention' in the first ten chapters of Genesis!

It proceeds from there and addresses the rebellion of mankind as a race and the flood judgment of Noah (GEN Ch 6) and (Ch 7); further rebellion by the example of the people of Babel, and the tower they built in defiance of God, followed quickly by the dispersion of nations (GEN 11). Then Abram (later Abraham) is introduced and from him, the nation of Israel, the government of God in the nation and prophecies of the coming Messiah (GEN 49:10) and Israel
Much later, the church is introduced (JOHN 20:22; ACTS 2:1-2,41), and the fulfillment of prophecies both now and those to come, including the Seven Year Tribulation, The Second Coming of Christ, and the Millennial Reign.

For a comprehensive view of the HOLY BIBLE, take some time to examine this amazing interactive timeline of the Scriptures! You will want to save this in your favorites!

The study of these biblical truths are to be done expositionally, that is, chapter after chapter, book after book, from Genesis to Revelation "precept upon precept, line upon line" so that we may be thoroughly equipped with the knowledge and wisdom of the LORD Jesus Christ through His Word  (JOSHUA 1:8; PSALM 1:1-2; 2 TIMOTHY 3:15-172 PETER 3:18)

2Reproof: Conviction (from the Holy Spirit): reveals that which is not right.
The Word of God declares to us what is right, what is truth, as well as what is wrong and what is error; as we read the pages of Scripture, we will receive the conviction of the Holy Spirit which will cause us to grieve over our sin and leads us to blessed repentance and confession of sin (1 JOHN 1:9). At times the Holy Spirit will use us, the saints, to reprove others that are guilty of doing wrong, but not out of anger so much as out of meekness and love, with a desire to restore and not to destroy (GALATIANS 6:1-2).

PROVERBS 9:7-9
7 He that reproves a scorner gets to himself shame: and he that rebukes a wicked man gets himself a blot.
8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate you: rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

ISAIAH 11:2-3
2 And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

In PROVERBS (and in other references) you will note how many verses there are about "reproof".
See also JOHN 3:20; 16:8; EPH 5:11-13; 2 TIM 4:2.

3Correction: To straighten out again, chastening; God’s guidance on how to get it right

PROVERBS 3:11-13
11 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:
12 For whom the Lord loves he corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights.
13 Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding.

Correction from the LORD teaches us "how to get it right" and knowing how, brings us wisdom, wisdom that we can share with others and bless them as we ourselves are blessed by it. Correction from the LORD therefore should never be feared, avoided and certainly NOT rejected, but welcomed - it shows that we are loved by Him!

HEBREWS 12:5-7
5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you art rebuked of Him:
6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives.
7 If ye endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?

See also: DEUT 8:5; 2 SAM 7:14; JOB 5:17; PSALM 94:12; 1 COR 11:31-32.

Chastening will most often come by way of trials and also by the conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

4Instruction in Righteousness: Training, developing good character and actions; sanctification. God shows us by this, how to stay right.

We have all the instruction that we could possibly need, contained within the covers of the Bible; because we have the counsel and care of God Himself, we do not need the philosophies of men (COL 2:7-9), psychiatry, or advice from those who do not know the LORD Jesus Christ. While we can and should seek counsel and guidance from godly saints, our first resort must always be the Word of God itself.

For a two part article on Psychological Counseling and why it's unbiblical, read the following from The BEREAN CALL:

Is Psychological Counseling Biblical? with Martin and Deidre Bobgan (Part 1)

Is Psychological Counseling Biblical? with Martin and Deidre Bobgan (Part 2)

The Bible is the only book written by God. We have the guarantee that “the word of our God shall stand forever” (ISAIAH 40:8). 

The Bible consists of two sections: The Old Testament (Hebrew), consisting of 39 books, and the New Testament (Greek), consisting of 27 books. So this one book is really a library of sixty-six books! Since God inspired about 40 writers over the course of 1,500 years, He must have felt it to be very important for mankind to have His written Word.

1- The Bible is made up of Doctrines (doctrine means "teachings" i.e. about God, Christ, The Holy Spirit, man, sin, salvation, Israel, the church, heaven, hell, etc. Doctrine keeps us sharp in the TRUTH and protects us from false teachings; it is through the Word of God as well as the Spirit of God, that we are granted discernment so that we may perceive truth from lies (HEB 4:12; 5:14).

2 TIMOTHY 3:13-17.
13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

vs. 13: evil unbelievers will grow in their wickedness and deceit; eventually the world will become as decayed and corrupt as it was in the days of Noah (MATT 24:37).
vs. 14: “continue” meaning to not give up, persist, keep going, never giving up. If you fail, seek forgiveness, get back up and keep on walking in the Spirit: ROM 8:4; GAL 5:16 (repentance, confession of sin; 1 JOHN 1:9)! Also to continue to learn, to grow in the knowledge of the LORD through His Word (2 PET 3:18).
vs. 15: This Book will give you a wisdom that cannot be compared with anything else in the world.
vs. 16: Note that word “all” – not some, many or most – but all: if ALL Scripture is inspired of God is it then important to read and to study ALL of the Bible (expositional study, personal and in church is the best for this reason, because this kind of study will go through the Bible, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book - from GENESIS to REVELATION, then back again to GENESIS!).
vs. 17: “Perfect” This does not mean ‘sinless’ but ‘mature’; a regular, steady diet on God’s Word will bring spiritual maturity to our lives as we read it, study it, apply it (See HEBREWS 5:14). “Furnished” means ‘equipped’ – that is, everything we need to live a Christian life successfully is included in the Word of God and the Spirit of God. 
The Spirit of Grace and Truth leads us to: The Word of Grace and Truth, the Word of Grace and Truth tells us how to live for Christ, and leads us back to: The Spirit of Grace and Truth to empower us to live our life, Who is Christ (ZECH 12:10; JOHN 1:17). 

JAMES 1:21-23
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and [and overflow of wickedness], and receive with meekness* the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word**, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  

* - “meekness” – to be teachable, as a child is willing to be taught. 
** ACTS 1:1 “. . . of all that Jesus began both TO DO and TEACH . . .”
Note that in this verse found in ACTS, it states all that Jesus began TO DO - He demonstrated truth in His life, and didn't merely teach it. Basically, He practiced perfectly what He preached! While we can't practice perfectly, practice we should: otherwise anything we might teach to others will be useless. We cannot hope to have a sure foundation in our Christian walk if we only learn about God's will as recorded in Scripture and not obey God's will (MATT 7:24-25).

Consider the first two letters in the word 'doctrine' (DO!) - be DOERS of the WORD and not HEARERS ONLY!
The reason why we study the Bible expositionally is the same reason why pastors are to teach expositionally. Got Questions ministry gives us the answer:

What Is Expository Preaching?

For an excellent outline on the preparation for expository study of the Bible, go here.

Here is a brief video that explains what expository preaching (by pastors and teachers) is all about. Expository study (by ALL who study the Bible) has the same methods and results:




HOMEWORK2 TIMOTHY 2:15; 1 TIMOTHY 4:13-16; vs. 15: “meditate” is to take what you have read in the Scriptures and really think about it, asking the Holy Spirit to open up the meaning of it. (Bible Scholars say that, if we don’t study and obey God’s Word, we aren’t demonstrating any love for God; JOHN 14:15. We are enabled by God’s Spirit and His sanctification to obey God’s commandments: 1 PETER 1:2; ZECH 4:6). And don’t just snack on God’s Word, feast on God’s Word!

2- The Bible exposes what is in our minds and hearts; let the LORD show you what’s going on inside of your mind, your heart, your attitudes, and your conduct as you read the Word of God. The Word of God is like a mirror, and mirrors don’t lie! They reveal the truth of what we look like. The same with the Word of God. The Word is also a lamp that shines and reveals where we are going, spiritually (PSALM 119:105).

HEBREWS 4:12
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

It is important that we regularly examine ourselves (2 COR 13:5) in the Light of God's Word in order to determine if we genuinely are "in the faith" and that we are walking pleasing to the LORD (COL 1:9-11). His Holy Spirit will indeed bring conviction to us when we sin and it's vital that we keep our hearts soft and pliable to Him, and not harden our hearts (JOB 9:4; PSALM 95:8; PROV 28:14; DAN 5:20; JOHN 12:39-40); otherwise sin that is harbored with harden our hearts and bring deception, and eventually destruction - the destruction of our Christian witness and a ruined life (HEB 3:12-14).

HOMEWORK –  JAMES 1:23-24; 2 CORINTHIANS 3:18.

3- The Bible is understood and appreciated by those whom God has enlightened

1 CORINTHIANS 2:12-16 (see also EPHESIANS 1:18).
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.

It’s because the Spirit and Light of God dwells within us, that He grants to us understanding (PSALM 19:8; JOHN 14:25-26; 2 COR 4:5-7EPHESIANS 1:18), so we know the truth of God. He is our Teacher and imparts the wisdom of God to us, which the world cannot see or understand and refuses to receive! We have the mind-set of Christ, those of us who are born again in Christ.
And don’t forget, Christ is also our Teacher (EPHESIANS 4:20-21)!

For us saints, this Book is not merely a 'How To Live' instruction manual for life, it is our chiefest love and treasure because it reveals to us the very heart of our LORD God!
DEUT 11:18; JOSHUA 1:8; PSALM 19:7-11; 119:162.

PSALM 119:97-98
97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.

HOMEWORKPSALM 119:98-100; JEREMIAH 3:15; 1 JOHN 5:19-21.

From DEEP TRUTHS ministry, we have the following examination on the treasures and blessings we receive from God's Holy Bible!

4- The Bible is eternal -

PSALM 119:89
89 For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.

PSALM 100:5
5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

MATTHEW 24:35
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.

The Bible is unlike any other book in the world. All other books were written by people who lived and died, leaving their writings behind; many of these books become outdated because knowledge increases and what was written before is proven inaccurate or just plain wrong today.

Yet the Bible is Eternal because the Author is Eternal and Omniscient (All-Knowing); He is the ALPHA and OMEGA, the FIRST and the LAST, the Beginning and the End. He has considered and provided in advance every answer for any questions we might have concerning spiritual truth and our lives with Him all in the pages of this single Book, the exclusive TRUTH SOURCE that is literally unique among all the libraries of Earth!

HOMEWORKPSALM 119:152, 160; 1 PETER 1:25.

5- The Bible was written by God using holy men like pens in His hand. God prepared these men, using and transcending their personalities, for the writing of God’s Word. 

2 PETER 1:21.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

“Thus saith the LORD” is a phrase recorded over 400 times in the Bible!
The LORD has “. . . put [His] words in [the mouths] . . .” of His prophets and saints: DEUTERONOMY 18:18; ISAIAH 51:16; 59:21; JEREMIAH 1:9.

This is just one of the many ways that we know that the Bible is truly the Word of God: God inspired 40 men to write His words, like holy secretaries taking dictation. These men were living at different times, different locations – even different continents, from all walks of life: some were kings, prophets and priests; others were farmers, herders, military men; some were wealthy, others were poor.

They wrote about all kinds of things in the Bible about God, Satan, heaven and hell, the Law of God, the grace of God, the way of salvation and God’s plan for the ages revealed through prophecy. Most of these men couldn’t communicate with each other and ‘compare notes’.

If you assembled 40 men from these different kinds of background and asked them to write on all the subjects that the Bible addresses and then compared what they all wrote – you would have a contradictory collection of contrary opinions that didn’t, for the most part, agree with each other.
Yet the Bible reads like one Book, because really, it has only One Author, The ALPHA and OMEGA, the LORD JESUS CHRIST - and the volume of this Book is all about Him (PSALM 40:6-10; JOHN 5:39)

HOMEWORKEXODUS 25:1; 2 SAMUEL 23:2; EZRA 1:1; JEREMIAH 1:1-2; LUKE 16:31; JOHN 5:46-47; ACTS 1:16.
“Thus says The LORD” and similar phrases are found over 3,800 times in the Old Testament!

6- The Word of God is perfectly sufficient and is our soul food (and much more)!! 

MATTHEW 4:4
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

PSALM 19:7-11
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

HOMEWORK – 

The Word of God is our Living Water!!  JOHN 4:10-11; 7:38
The Word of God is our Bread of Life!! JOHN 6:33-35, 48, 51.
The Word of God is our Milk!! 1 PETER 2:2-3.
The Word of God is our Meat!! HEBREWS 5:14.
The Word of God is our Rock!! MATTHEW 7:24-25.
The Word of God is our Guide and Counsel!! PSALM 73:24; 119:105.
The Word of God is our Comfort and Comforter!! PSALM 119:50; JOHN 14:16, 18.

7- The Bible: A World’s Record – The world’s bestselling and most widely distributed book is the Bible, which has been translated into 2,009 languages, and portions of it into further 910 languages… It has been estimated that between 1815 and 1992 some 6.1 billion copies of the bible were printed, of which 36.97 percent were handled by Bible societies. – Guinness Book of World Records

8- The Bible’s power to transform lives; it brings cleansing, purifying, sanctification, and godliness.

PSALM 119:9-11 
9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

ROMANS 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

HOMEWORKJEREMIAH  23:29 declares how the Word breaks the hardened heart, and burns away sinful impurities; JOHN 17:17 states that the truth of God’s Word sanctifies. 
ROMANS 1:16: the Gospel has the power of salvation; HEBREWS 4:12 the Word of God is powerful and able reveal to us that which is truly spiritual in us, and that which is not. 
The seed of the Word sown in the soil of a good ("prepared") heart of meekness, humility and contrition will bring forth good fruit which is the nature of the Word Incarnate. Teh fruit of the Spirit is the very 'character profile' of the LORD Jesus (GAL 5:22-23).

9- The Bible was translated from the original Hebrew and Greek language into English by William Tyndale back in 1526. He was burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church* (martyred) for doing this awesome work for us to be blessed with and enjoy today! Satan does not want people reading the Book of his Enemy! He used this religion to destroy whole libraries of Bibles!

* For an excellent book on the Roman Catholic Church - its beliefs and destiny, get the book by Dave Hunt, entitled A Woman Rides The Beast. Or watch a video based on this book here.

The Roman Church did not want the Bible in the hands of anyone except their clergy; so people had to depend on the priests to tell them what the Word of God said. People’s understanding of the Word was perverted because the priests would tell them only what they wanted them to know: they certainly DID NOT want them to know that salvation was by faith alone in God's grace and provision in the GOSPEL!

People’s knowledge of the Bible was limited, not at all complete. Any attempt to bring the Scriptures to the people in their own language, as well as the proclamation of the Gospel: salvation by faith alone in the finished work of Christ was met by the fierce wrath of the Roman Church, resulting in widespread persecution of the saints. You can read of these events of history in Foxe's Book of Martyrs (this link will bring you to an online version of this book!).

For a biblical treatment on the dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church, watch the following video from The HOUSE of TRUTH Fellowship:


Biblical Christianity vs Roman Catholicism





Today, Satan is using a different tactic: the Bible is being produced in translations and paraphrases that are not accurate, even misleading – and so we must be sure we have a reliable translation. Much of the inadequacy of today's church in way of doctrinal purity can be blamed on these aberrant paraphrases and translations. Here is a chart to compare the various most well known translations.

10- Tampering with God’s Word brings great danger.

DEUTERONOMY 12:32.
32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

A widespread and prolific movement that began in the late 80's and early 90's that has done a tremendous disservice to the body of Christ, and something that I believe is the forerunner of "the whore of Babylon" (REV 17 & REV 18), that is indeed tampering with God's Word, attempting to strip it of its content of truth, is the Emergent Church Movement. The following is a two part article that summarizes this movement: TTUF Report on The EMERGENT CHURCH MOVEMENT: Its Roots, Reality and Resolve - Part One and Part Two.

HOMEWORKPROV 30:5-6; REV 22:18-19 (These writings/warnings were written in the beginning, middle and the end of God’s Word.)

11-   All Bible verses must be read in context

It is important that we not study single verses by themselves, but rather, study each verse in context with the whole chapter. What does every verse say in connection to the verses before and after it? How does one verse connect to the whole chapter, the book that is being studied and entire Bible?

2 TIMOTHY 2:15.
“rightly dividing” refers to making correct observations and having good understanding about the various parts of the Word of God: those things that pertain to the Law of God, the grace of God, those things that deal with Israel, and the church; the different aspects of prophecy – those that concern Christ in His First Advent, His Second Advent, that concern Israel, the church and the world. 
Being skillful in the Word of God is “rightly dividing” (HEBREWS 5:13-14); as we learn God’s Word, and grow in the LORD, our understanding increases and we are abler to “rightly divide”.

12-   The Bible is truth whether it is accepted or not.

ROMANS 1:18; (See also ROMANS 3:3-4).
“. . . who hold the truth in unrighteousness” refers to those who ‘hold down’ the truth, much like a wrestler would his opponent. To pin down, to keep it still, inactive. God’s judgment upon all who try to prevent His Word of Truth from touching lives will be fierce!
Today there are liberal theologians who don't take God's Word seriously - they don't believe in the Deity of Christ, His miracles, His virgin birth, His resurrection - and the same goes for the Emergent Church Movement as well. They want to prevent the truth of the Bible from making an impact on people's lives! Yet no matter how much they deny the truth found exclusively in God's Word, they can never, ever stop it or change it!

HOMEWORKPSALM 119:160; PROVERBS 3:13-18.

13-   The Bible is to be obeyed and cherished 

PSALM 12:6; “purified seven times” – seven is the number in Scripture that represents completion or perfection. Just as God’s Word is refined ‘seven times’ meaning that it is complete, perfect, holy – all who feed on God’s Word will become spiritually complete, perfect, holy (not overnight! But making progress through life, until we finally see our LORD and know completeness, total perfection and absolute holiness!) 

ISAIAH 66:1-2 “. . . poor, contrite (humble, repentant) and trembles at My Word.”
This should be our heart, our attitude, every time we open up the Word of God; it’s not a common, ordinary text book like in school, nor is it only some instruction book for life; it is the very Word of the Living God! 
I knew of a preacher, who any time he would read the Bible to his congregation, would do so, on his knees!

MATTHEW 7:24
It’s not hearing and understanding God’s Word that places us solidly on the solid Rock of Christ, able to withstand all the attacks of the enemy and the storms and trials of this world, but those who obey God’s Word, with a willingness to obey and a surrender to God’s Spirit that enables us to obey!

HOMEWORK
JAMES 1:22; 1 JOHN 5:3.
EXTRA CREDIT HOME WORK – 
Read all of PSALM 119. This entire chapter is all about God’s Precious Word!


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SESSION FOUR: The COST of DISCIPLESHIP


Has Following Jesus Cost You Anything?


For some, following Jesus has cost relationships in family and friendships who reject God and His Word. For others it's a sin they once loved. 
Still for others, it has cost them a lavish lifestyle, and instead they now they live a comparatively humble lifestyle because they are focused on working in Christ's Kingdom and not concerned about building their own kingdom. 

As we speak, for many in the Middle East it’s costing them their jobs, their homes, their personal safety. Being a Christian in most parts of this world invites persecution, sometimes severe persecution that costs them their lives, even those of their children!
Are we willing to follow Christ at all cost? Because the reality is, that in order to truly be a follower of Christ it’s going to cost you something. And if it hasn’t yet, is it possible you haven’t taken the first step in His direction?

Whatever it may cost you to be a disciple of Christ, learn to live with a banner over your head and heart that reads “Jesus is worth it all!

There are three different types of people that the LORD addresses here:

LUKE 9:57-58
57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

1. Here we have a man (MATTHEW 8:19 tells us that this man was a scribe; a teacher and a copier of the OT manuscripts) that swears his allegiance to the LORD – no matter what! Yet the LORD tells him that following Him may demand a lack of comforts or even reasonable needs – such as a home to live in.

Why are we following Jesus?

History tells us that some of the scribes had hidden motives and agendas when it came to following Jesus. Some were in it to make a name for themselves, a bigger following, knowledge for gain wealth and power over people. But notice how Jesus quickly smashes that type of heart with His response. “Following me is no walk in the park. Oh and by the way I don’t even own a house.” 


In other words, “I’m homeless; are you sure you still want to follow Me?” Jesus was (and still is) on a mission to “seek and save the lost” (LUKE 19:10). Not to seek fame, comfort, a million-dollar estate, nor to save or preserve even His own life. He’s the exact opposite of the prosperity preachers of our day. Jesus was literally not of this world (JOHN 17:16)!

LUKE 9:59-60 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

2. Here we have a man that the LORD invites to follow Him, but he asks the LORD to permit him first to go bury his father. It was customary for grown children to care for their aged parents until their death, which is what this man was asking the LORD (It wasn’t that his father was already dead and needed burying). But the LORD’s response was that as His disciples, we are to consider Him and His Gospel as our highest priority, even over family!

Let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus – “[But first,] let the dead bury the dead.” (sound a bit rude doesn’t it?)

LUKE 7:23  
Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me (to John the Baptist).

Christ was expressing urgency and the high priority of preaching the gospel which gives eternal life to lost souls. Christ and His mission supersede all. Jesus is more important than any other human relationship and is worth far more than the inheritance this young man may have wanted from his father. Christ is first. Do we have a priority problem?

LUKE 9:61-62 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

3. Again, we have a man who asks to do something first before following Jesus; he wants to say goodbye to those in his household – yet the LORD here says that any who look back (in regard of more importance than the LORD Himself) as not being worthy of the Kingdom of God. Wow!

“I’ll follow You, but first let me say bye to my family.”
When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow Him, they immediately dropped their nets and followed (MATT 4:19-20). So did James and John (MARK 1:19-20), and Matthew (Levi) too (MARK 2:14)! This is what Christ is looking for in those who will follow now and follow truly to the end. No quitters nor half-hearted procrastinators allowed!

HOMEWORK:
Consider this passage found in MARK 10:17-27.

What Christ requires is too much for some people because they fail to have the awe and respect for Christ that He is worthy of; consider all that He went through to secure eternal life for us, dying on the cross for our sins, taking God's wrathful judgment on sin upon Himself, out of a heart of love for us!. 
Many fail to see Jesus’ infinite worth. So they constantly turn their eyes and hearts to worthless things.
The Lord doesn’t delight in the heart that turns back (LUKE 9:62). Israel turned back to Egypt in their hearts (NUM 11:4-6; ACTS 7:39) and Lot’s wife turned back in her heart to Sodom (GEN 19:24-26).
One of Paul’s companions by the name Demas abandoned him. 

2 TIMOTHY 4:10 
10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

Demas loved this present world, causing him to jump ship. Paul was at the end of his ministry and life; in his absence, could this have been too much for Demas? Paul endured some hardship and constant persecution but essentially Demas said, “I didn’t sign up for this! I’m out!”

One who looks back is neither fit to proclaim the Kingdom nor receive it.” - John Wesley

Why are we following Jesus? 
Is it only for a peace of mind and a religious reputation? Is it only to see what we can get out of Him? What’s the reason and motive of the heart? It’s good for one to ask themselves this question not only in the beginning of our Christian life but it’s also a healthy habit to check our hearts as we go along. Is Christ our everything, or is He just a means to an end (to get what we want)?

MATTHEW 16:26 
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

How much of our heart does Christ have and how much of our heart does the rest of our lives have? When we give ourselves over to other things it makes it that much harder to really make an impact for Christ because the more you have the more you have to maintain; the more these things dominate our time and concern:

MATTHEW 13:22 
He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

1 TIMOTHY 6:10 
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows

One commentator writes “Those who follow Christ must prepare themselves to endure discomforts. (i.e - There was this one time when Jesus did rest his head, but it was on a boat caught in a terrible storm about to sink! LUKE 8:23).

Regarding comfort: “Christianity says, ‘The end of all being is the glory of God.’ Humanism says, ‘The end of all being is the happiness of man’.” – Paris Reidhead.
HOMEWORK:
Here is a video called TEN SHEKELS and A SHIRT (7 min 15 sec) by Paris Reidhead. Or watch the full sermon here:




Do we have ‘wheel-hub’ Christianity or ‘matchbox car’ Christianity?

Some people have Christ like a valued matchbox car, one of their prized possessions. They keep it in their carrying case in a special compartment along with others, that they have collected over the years. If that car is lost, while they might be sad, it does nothing to affect the other cars in the collection. This is religious Christianity – not biblical Christianity. A religious Christian may lose interest in Christ eventually, but the rest of his life is intact – he still has other interests, goals, etc.

Wheel-hub Christianity is completely different. All the spokes of the wheel surround the hub which supports each spoke and gives the wheel its strength. If one removes the hub, the spokes have no support and the wheel collapses! Biblical Christianity cannot work without Christ – He is the center and source of strength for us, and every aspect of our lives is connected to Him!

There’s going to be uncomfortable times. The storms of life will pour down on you but even then we must trust in Christ to endure to the end. We may encounter abandonment, suffering, sickness, persecution, and poverty but always remember: 


“Jesus is worth it all!”

MARK 13:13  
Everyone will hate you because of Me, but the one who stands firm till the end will be saved. – while this speaks of the time of the tribulation period, there is a principle here that we need to pay attention to: 

We cannot hope to endure to the end unless Jesus sustains us by His Spirit of grace. This is why we must be born again – for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – and why we need to maintain a healthy relationship with the LORD; He Himself gives us the grace to endure all tribulation, hardships, trials; dying to self and to sin (2 COR 12:9).

MATTHEW 10:16 
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves

We are never to be arrogant, but meek as sheep are meek. We need to be discerning of unnecessary and foolish dangers and avoid them (just as snakes do), but then when unavoidable persecution confronts us, remain inoffensive and as gentle as doves.
We need to always be filled with God’s Word and be led by the Holy Spirit.

JOHN 16:33 
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

We are not fighting a losing battle (even though in these last days it might look like it!); we aren’t even fighting a battle with a wishful hope for victory. . .  it’s because Jesus has already overcome the world – and we who are born again are “in Christ”, that we have already overcome the world! We have the victory already by faith! And faith leads to action – to good works, to following God no matter what!

1 JOHN 5:4 
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Radical or Reasonable Obedience?

MATTHEW 18:9
If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter Heaven with one eye than to have two eyes and be cast into Hell

This is the painful work of cutting off sin for His glory. It might seem radical to cut off sin and have nothing more to do with it – even if the world says that ‘it’s OK’ . . . but considering what radical measures Jesus went through in order to free us from sin, our obedience isn’t really that radical at all – but reasonable: 

ROMANS 12:1 
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.


Jesus is worth it all!


LUKE 14:25-30
25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

 As Disciples of Christ we are to cultivate a love for Christ, a love so profound, so deep, that it makes all other loves look like hate. ‘Christ above all’ is the way of the servant.
The Lord promises us two things: a cross on earth and a crown in heaven. Crosses are borne before crowns are worn is what He’s teaching the scribe. 
Before we commit ourselves to the LORD for salvation, we must consider, that since He has purchased us with His own blood, and His Spirit will indwell us upon our confession of faith and genuine conversion, we will no longer be 'calling the shots' in our life; that He will be LORD over all our lives (not merely 99.9%) and we shall be His bond-servants - slaves of righteousness (PHIL 1:1; JAMES 1:1; 2 PETER 1:1; JUDE 1:1; ROM 6:18-21)

2 TIMOTHY 4:6-8 (Paul and his [our] crown).
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Counting the cost eliminates the temptation to follow Jesus for the wrong reasons and it eliminates disappointment and it eliminates half-hearted discipleship altogether.
The Lord will lavishly and abundantly bless all who count the cost of following Him:

MATTHEW 19:27-29
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

 May He and His promises serve as motivation for us to keep going!
Remember the scribe said, “Lord, I’ll follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem to die a cruel death on a Roman cross and when He rises from the dead He’ll command this man to go into the entire world to proclaim the gospel. We sing songs that say “Wherever You go, I will follow.” 

But is that true? Would we be willing to go to Syria, Iran or into our own city, if Jesus sent us? I’ve struggled with this thought. And sometimes I wonder if He has called some of us to go, but due to comfort we can’t hear the call to missions. Sometimes I think we’re quicker to draw the line than heed the call!

Sometimes we have it the other way around, where we want Jesus to follow us. To lead us in our path and to surrender to our plans and our goals in life. Remember, when our happiness is the center of our lives, and our objective – that is Humanism! 

Christianity is about Jesus becoming the center of our lives and His will as our objective!

This is the right perspective: That God in His infinite wisdom, knowledge, power and love for us has a plan especially made for each of us, individually – that will bless us far more in the eternal realm of heaven, and bring far greater glory to Him, than any plan we could possibly conceive of!  It is then that God’s will becomes a joy and a delight and enables us to willingly abandon our ways to follow Jesus!

Many times we choose comfort over the cross. Comfort over commission like Jonah.
To follow Jesus means to live for Him: 

2 CORINTHIANS 5:15
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

2 PETER 2:20-22
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

HOMEWORK:
Asaph struggled in this area… PSALM 73.
MATTHEW 16:24-25
MARK 8:35-37

2 CHRONICLES 16:9
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore, from henceforth thou shalt have wars.

EXTRA-CREDIT HOMEWORK:
Read this article FROM The MIND of FIRE blog (if you would like a hard
copy of this, let me know; I will get one for you! Or you may print this out from your own printer with my permission and blessing!):

The CROSS, the KINGDOM and the CROWN

FINALLY Please watch the following video by Paul Washer on TRUE DISCIPLESHIP (11 min 13 sec):




Also something worth your time are the books TRUE DISCIPLESHIP and The DISCIPLE's MANUAL, both by William MacDonald; I am prayerfully considering gleaning from these works for further courses: DISCIPLESHIP 102, 103 and 104.
This concludes the course DISCIPLESHIP 101. Amen!

Read more!

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